Unification News for November 1996


The First True Family Values Conference for Muslims

by Abdel Kader Mesbah, NYC

October 4 to 6 we held the first True Family Values Conference, "Empowering the Muslim Family" at the Hyatt Hotel in Virginia Far from being a formal conference, it turned out simply to be a joyful and memorable family gathering.

Dr. Joong Hyun Pak, special assistant of Father Moon and the North American Director of the True Family Values Ministry, initiated and promoted the idea of this conference and supervised its organizational committee, humbly, from behind the scenes, as he always does.

The Washington Times Foundation generously sponsored this historical conference, while Rev. Daryl Clarke, Director of the Holy Spirit Association in the Harlem District and myself coordinated the event.

One hundred fifty participants from many parts of the United States and Africa attended the conference. Among them, Sheik Abdul Karim Ahmad, Chairman of the Imams Association in Delaware Valley; Sheik Hassan A. Cisse, Chairman of the African-American Islamic Institute; Dr. Abdulwahab M. Makki, specialist in genetics in the state of Maryland; Sister Habeebah Ali, a Muslim community leader in Philadelphia; Imam Luqman Ahmad from Masjid Ibrahim in Sacramento, California; Mr. and Mrs. Crawford Bailey, community activists in Atlanta, Georgia, and many other distinguished participants.

In his introduction, Mr. Taj Hamad welcomed the participants and as he wished them a good experience with the True Family Values teachings he also described Muslims as family-oriented people.

Dr. Tyler Hendricks, President of True Family Values Ministry in the United States, taught the main lectures concerning true family values and highlighted the fact that regardless of beliefs, religion and creeds, all humankind face the same challenges in daily life of how to protect their families from the bad influences of our morally declining society. He explained that without a clear vision and idea about God and His original ideal for humanity, one cannot successfully protect and guarantee happiness and joy for himself or his family. He said that Father Moon's teachings provide such guidance for everyone of us who seek to achieve a happy family life. As support for his declaration he testifies that within the Unification community the divorce rate has never reached even five percent among all the married couples, while the national average divorce rate in the United States goes beyond fifty percent.

Dr. Hendricks concluded by inviting the Muslim community in the United States to work together with the Unification community as well as with all other religious communities in order to create a safe, pure and healthy environment for our children and our families. He further said: "...Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists or whatever, we are in a battle together to save the family, and we will be able to save the family together because none of us can do it isolated..."

In his introductory address, Sheik Abdul Karim Ahmad encouraged his Muslim followers to leave behind them all negative things and false rumors they may have heard about the True Family Values Conferences being anti-Islamic teachings and to find out the truth for themselves by opening their hearts and comparing it with the Islamic Family Values. He said that Muslims should work together with all other righteous people from other religions to eliminate evil from our society and build strong and healthy families. He also asked them simply to take with them what they agreed with and leave behind what they did not agree with.

Rev. Purnell Spicer, who lectured the second segment of the True Family Values program, pointed out that the idea of the family did not originate with Islam, Christianity nor Judaism, but the idea of the family originated from Allah who transcends time and space. Therefore, the family is a universal desire of all people.

During the questions and answers session, Imam Luqman stated that Muslims agree with the necessity of having a strong family and have the obligation to cooperate with other people who are working towards this end.

In his final remarks, Sheik A. Cisse recognized the similarities between the Islamic Family Values and the True Family Values, saying that the Islamic religion clearly states for Muslims what to do and what not to do in order to build a strong and healthy family.

After that, Dr. Abdulwahab M. Makki explained to the participants how Islam cares about the family even before the couple gets married. He said that the Quran and Hadith talk about genetic counseling and how to choose spiritually and physically the right person to marry.

The program concluded with a guided visit to the Washington Times facilities where the participants could have a close look at the daily activities of the most popular newspaper in the nation's Capital.

In respect to the Islamic Law, we were provided "Hallal" meat at each meal. In Arabic language, the word "Hallal" means permitted by the divine law. The animal (cow, lamb, chicken, goat, etc.), excluding the pig, must be slain by a believer who sanctifies it in the name of Allah. " Hallal" is similar to "Kosher" for the Israelites. Muslims are not permitted to drink even a drop of alcoholic beverage.

In the closing session, the participating leaders expressed their joy and gratitude for this opportunity they were given to learn a new and universal way of empowering the Muslim family in America through the True Family Values. They were truly excited to find out at the end of the conference that the genuine purpose for inviting them was not to indoctrinate them with new ideas which might contradict their Islamic beliefs, or to convert them to Christianity. They realized that the reason they were there was simply to have shared with them Father Moon's teachings to help them improve their family life quality spiritually and physically and by doing so to build an ideal society because the family is the cornerstone of the society. They also requested the availability of a follow-up comity between Muslim leaders and Unification leaders after the conference. This request was immediately approved by Dr. Pak and the two parties agreed to join their efforts and resources to achieve their common goals to solve the problems of juvenile delinquency, unwed parents, teenage pregnancy, divorce and breakdown in the families and other problems endangering our families, society and our world.

As a matter of fact, Islam strongly discourages divorce and sees it as only the last resort after having tried everything poossible to reconcile the couple. Islam also encourages the absolute abstinence before marriage (Quran Surat 24, verse 23: "Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste...") and prohibits any sexual promiscuity (Surat 17, verse 32: "...nor come nigh to adultery for it is an indecent deed and an evil way").

Finally, the participants were invited to follow the example of more than 400,000 couples throughout the world, from all backgrounds, who are happily living according to True Family Values teachings.

As a Muslim-Unificationist, descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, and inspired by verse 64, Surat 3 from the Quran, "O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you...", I was one of the first to pioneer in the religious ecumenical endeavor initiated by Father Moon for the building of a strong and pure family worldwide. So at this conference I was delighted to see, by Allah's grace and blessing, the uniting of God's righteous people for the purpose of the common good.

In my closing remarks to the participants, I expressed my sincere congratulations to them, because by attending this conference, in reality they obeyed the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, when he gave this wise and invaluable order to his people, man and woman alike: "Seek knowledge even in China." So Muslims are strongly encouraged to seek all kinds of knowledge in all kinds of languages in all places of the world as long as this knowledge brings them closer to Allah. As one participant joyfully stated at the end of the conference, "It was a very successful trip, and all praises are due to Allah, and because without other people we couldn't succeed."

In conclusion, I would like to thank and acknowledge with deep appreciation the following persons:

Dr. Joong Hyun Pak; Mr. Dong Moon Joo; Mr. Chang Shick Yang; Dr. Tyler Hendricks; Rev. Purnell Spicer; Rev. Jeong Phyo Hong; Rev. Daryl Clarke; Rev. Ralph Oppenheimer; Mr. Ronald E. Pine; Mr. Taj Hamad; Mrs. Vicky Tate; Mrs. Betty Lancaster; Mr. Frank Makita ; Mr. Shahram Sedehi; and the personnel of the Hyatt Hotel and all others.

Encouraged by the success of this first conference, we are currently planning another one as soon as we have enough candidates.

Visit or write us at: The Association for the Research of Middle Eastern Cultures (A.R.M.E.C.) 4 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036.

Call us at 212-391-7380 for any of the following: application forms for a Muslim scholar, sheik, imam or community leader; information about True Family Values, Empowering the Muslim Family; obtaining a ten-minute video report about our first historical conference (cost $ 15 including shipping and handling); or if you want to support in any way this brand new providential work with the Muslim community in the United States.

Abdel Mesbah is the co-founder & president of ARMEC, and the coordinator of True Family Values Conferences, Empowering the Muslim Family.

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